US-based world short-course champion Vladimir Morozov broke 48sec for the first time with a 47.93 victory in the 100m freestyle at Russian nationals and world-championship trials in Kazan today.
The 20-year-old, the first Russian to get inside 48sec in a textile suit, needed to go that way: in his wake came Nikita Lobintsev on 48.17 and Danila Izotoz on 48.18, Alexander Sukhorukov on 48.89 (0.09sec slower than in semis), and Sergei Fesikov on 49.01, after a 48.63 in semis. A good day then for coach Dave Salo's Trojans, Morozov, Lobintsev and Sukhorov all based at the Californian outfit.
At the tail-end of battle in Kazan were Evgeny Lagunov, 49.03, with Andrey Grechin, national record holder, down on best at 49.10, the final closed Oleg Tikhobaev in 49.68.
Morozov, who later led the 50 breaststroke semis in 27.81, is the third Russian inside 48sec in any suit, a 47.59 the national record held by Grechin, Lagunov on 47.90, both efforts from the last season of shiny suits back in 2009.
Today in Kazan, Izotov came back like a train in 24.92, almost half a second faster that Morozov but the damage had been done with a 22.58 opener from the Siberian on a roll. Morozov set a lifetime best of 48.49 in the semis yesterday. That turned out to be just a warning and one that could spell the death knell for Alex Popov's Russian 50m fee record of 21.64, from 2000, over the next two days in Kazan.
The prospects for 4x100m free quartet in Barcelona this summer are good but the fourth man will have to join the flightpath of the top 3 if Russia is to challenge for the crown, especially in a season when Australia's sprinters may well wish to make amends for what they could not achieve last year in London by retaining the crown they won at Shanghai 2011.
As for France, Olympic champions, Team Marseilles retweeted the result we pout out with the words a hash tag and "seeuinBarcelona 4x100". The battle lines are being drawn.
How the Russian final panned out:
How Russia's 100m is on the move:
Top 10 all-time in textile only - Before nationals
Top 10 all-time in textile only - After nationals (one shy of a top 10 inside 49)
In any suit all-time:
Today's events led to the first all-time, any suit top 10 list inside 49sec among Russians.
In other action, Svetlana Chimorova, the 16-year-old from Moscow, booked a ticket to Barcelona world titles with a 58.51 victory 0.14sec ahead of Irina Bespalov (58.65), the bronze also claimed below 59, Veronika Popova on 58.98. The junior final went to Anastasia Guzhenkova, 15, in 1:00.63.
The national record stands at 58.32to Natalia Sutiagina from 2008, while Bespalova has a best of 58.42 from 2007. Chimrova remains the third fastest ever in Russia but leapt inside her previous best of 59.07 from the European Junior Championships last year, while Popova cracked her own lifetime best of 59.14.
Olympic medallist Yulia Efimova took the 200m breaststroke in 2:25.55 ahead of Irina Novikova, 17, on 2:27.03, and Mariya Temnikova, 17, on 2:28.29. Anastasia Chaun, former European champion and Russian No2, was disqualified in semis yesterday.
The men's 800m freestyle went to Evgeny Kulikov, Moscow, in 7:57.12, a heartening moment for a 21-year-old whose previous best of 7:59.81 dated back to 2011. The silver went to the winner's teammate Evgeny Eliseev, inside 8:10 for the first time on a best of 8:01.30, Alexander Solpekovskiy also setting a new personal standard for bronze, in 8:02.06. Alexander Krasnyee, 17 and racing for the Republic of Tatarstan, clocked 8:16.28 to the helm of the junior final.
In the 200m free semis for women, Viktoriya Andreeva, St Petersburg, led the first line up in 1:59.51. Ksenia Yuskova, a European junior finalist on 2mins flat for the past two years, next through in 2:01.27, with Mariya Baklakova, 15, third in 2:01.76.
On the way to the hunt for 4x200m free berths Barcelona, the second semi saw Veronika Popova a second bite at the cherry on 1:58.66, Elena Sokolova on 2:00.61. Valeria Salamatin, 14, clocked 2:01.54 in the first semi for juniors.
The first line-up of the men's 100 'fly semis had Nikita Konovalo, Volgograd, on 52.57, and Vyacheslav Prudikov on 52.93, before Evgeny Koptelov, Volgogard, took the second line-up in 52.28, inside the FINA A cut for world-titles action, with Nikolay Skvortsov, the 200m champion yesterday, on 52.76, and Olympic silver medallist Evgeny Korotyshkin on 53.19, Vitaly Melnikov on 53.29.
Champion in the 100m this week, Arkady Vyatchanin, based at the Gators in Florida, produced the sole sub-2min effort in the 200m semis, on 1:59.62, for lane 4 in the final tomorrow. Anton Anchin was closest on 2:00.62, the cut for the final 2:02.55.
The session closed with the 50m breaststroke semis, Kirill Strelnikov, the 100m winner, on 27.85 at the helm of the first line-up, Morozov celebrating another leading effort on 27.81 up front in the second line-up for lane 4 in the final tomorrow.